Bears may have lost game, but Cutler the concern

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Bears may have lost game, but Cutler the concern

It was halftime when Bears quarterback Jay Cutler approached backup Jason Campbell.

Jay told me, Hey, get ready. Im not sure now of the status of my injury. Just get ready to go out and play the second half, Campbell recalled. From that point on, the coaches came out and said, Youre in. Lets roll.

Cutler suffered a concussion in the Bears 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday night, and its uncertain what his status is entering next Mondays game against the San Francisco 49ers. It was a tough blow for the Bears, who couldnt overcome another stale offensive evening on a sloppy night at Soldier Field.

But it was a tougher blow for Cutler, who took a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit from Texans middle linebacker Tim Dobbins near the end of the first half. Cutler was down for a few moments before popping back up. He finished the first half before telling Campbell at halftime that the backup better be prepared.

Dobbins saw the hit differently.

I did not hit him in his head and actually he ran into me. I just felt like he was going to take off and run with the ball and I thought he was past the line, Dobbins said. I was very surprised when he went down to the ground but I hope hes all right. He is definitely a tough quarterback.

Coach Lovie Smith was hopeful that Cutler could return next week, but you cant go that far. We just know he had symptoms, which started clearing up after the half. When a guy doesnt finish the game, youve just got to go with that right now.

Asked if he could tell Cutler had a concussion, Campbell said no, not right off the bat.

You know, Jays a tough guy. I think he tried to keep fighting and fighting through it, Campbell continued. Unfortunately he wasnt able to keep it going. You just try to make the right decision and do the right thing at this point in the season.

Yes, it is about doing the right thing. Ironically, Cutlers concussion comes on the night the Bears and U.S. Army co-hosted a pregame forum to discuss concussionstraumatic brain injury. The Bears also lost defensive end Shea McClellin to a concussion early in Sundays game.

And it was a tough weekend for other quarterbacks as well. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick sustained a concussion, as did Alex Smith of the 49ers -- the Bears next opponent.

But the Bears concern is obviously for Cutler. Hes sustained his share of nasty hits and has certainly proven to be one of the toughest players in the league. Still, the hits -- and head injuries -- start to add up. This is Cutlers second concussion, the last coming on Oct. 3, 2010, against the New York Giants when Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half. At one point in that game, Cutler wobbled toward the wrong sideline.

Hes a tough guy and obviously we want him on the field, Bears center Roberto Garza said. Nobody can question his toughness. We look to have him back soon.

But if Cutler cant return next week, the Bears are confident in what Campbell can do.

Thats why we got Jason. Were better off now than we were last year at this time, Brian Urlacher said. Hopefully hell be back soon. But Jason did a good job. Its a tough situation throwing the ball in those conditions. It cant be easy. I thought he came in and did a good job for us.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks give up season-high seven goals

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks give up season-high seven goals

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Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Toronto Raptors tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Can the Bulls get one on the Bucks? The Bulls are 0-3 against the Bucks so far this season and it hasn't been pretty. The Bucks have won the previous three meetings all by double digits and by an average of 19 points. The youth and athleticism of the Bucks has been a tough matchup for the Bulls so far.

2. Containing Giannis. There may be no stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Bulls can at least try to contain him. Antetokounmpo is averaging 23 points and nearly nine rebounds per game. In three games against the Bulls this year he has averaged 29 points, 10 rebounds and 7.3 assists per contest. If the Bulls are to stay in the game, they will need to keep him to numbers lower than that.

3. Playoff implications. The Bulls playoff hopes are still alive with nine games remaining, but things are looking a bit bleak. The Bulls are a game and a half out of the eighth playoff spot, but only 3.5 games behind two teams tied for the No. 5 seed, the Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks have won three in a row to improve their position.

4. Mirotic on a roll. Streaky play is nothing new to Nikola Mirotic, but he's on a good run currently. After scoring a season-high 28 points on Wednesday against the Pistons, Mirotic followed that up with 15 points against the 76ers. Since missing three straight games earlier this month, Mirotic has scored in double figures in five of the last seven games and is averaging 15.6 points during that stretch.

5. Beginning of a tough stretch. The Bulls' playoff hopes could be made or broken in the next three games. After taking on the Bucks, which occupy a playoff spot, the Bulls host two more Eastern Conference playoff teams in Cleveland and Atlanta. The Bulls need to string some wins together and this is not an easy stretch to do so against.

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you're ready for action

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- Latest on the Bulls: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Bulls fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Bulls Pulse